Gao Zhisheng, Xu Zhiyong and Teng Biao Call for Rule of Law in China

Three prominent Chinese lawyers and legal scholars have written an open letter to China’s representatives to the Congress of the Law of the World, which recently met in Shanghai, calling for the rule of law to be implemented in China. The letter, written by Gao Zhisheng, Xu Zhiyong, and Teng Biao, specifically mentions several recent high-profile cases including the Taishi Village impeachment campaign, the harassment of activist Chen Guangcheng, a wrongful death sentence case in Chengde, Hebei Province (see http://www.xianzhengchina.org/ for more details on this case), and the arrest of Southern Metropolis News employees Yu Huafeng and Li Minying.

On Friday, November 4, lawyer Gao Zhisheng, one of the letter’s authors, was told by the Beijing Bureau of Justice that his law firm would be closed for one year.

The following is from a translation of the letter provided to CDT by Xiaorong (Note: This is not CDT contributor Li Xiaorong), who received a copy of the Chinese version from Xu Zhiyong. The full translation is available here:

We, as Chinese attorneys and scholars of law, have the same dream of “Building a Harmonious Society and Rule of Law in China” as you.

Harmonious Society depends on democracy and rule of law, which is the essential lesson we learned from the civilization throughout history. We are delighted to see that you and other scholars of law from the world stand together to discuss democracy and the rule of law in Beijing. You are carrying the dreams of millions of Chinese people that in the near future they can enjoy democracy, rule of law, human rights, and freedom as in other countries.

However, at this flourishing and passionate moment, when you, as the representatives of Chinese attorneys and scholars, are giving presentations to the world, when Xiao Yang, the Judge of the High Court, is discussing the recent progress of rule by law in China, please do not forget the real situation outside of the Congress. Forgive us that we have to point out the reality now. Please remember that even today when you are gathering together for the meeting, there are a series of tragedies occuring in China.